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A Guy's Moleskine Notebook

Thoughts and reflections on works of fiction and literature. Pondering of life through pictures and words. Babbling about gay rights. Travelogues and anecdotes.

  • [1] Annie Proulx: Brokeback Mountain
  • [2] Arthur Golden: Memoirs of a Geisha
  • [3] Yu Hua: To Live
  • [4] Alan Hollinghurst: The Line of Beauty
  • [5] Colm Toibin: The Master
  • [6] Carlos Ruiz Zafon: The Shadow of the Wind
  • [7] William James: The Varieties of Religious Experience
  • [8] Charles Higham: The Civilization of Angkor
  • [9] Graham Greene: A Burnt-Out Case
  • [10] Dai Sijie: Mr. Muo's Travelling Couch
  • [11] Alan Hollinghurst: The Swimming-Pool Library
  • [12] Mikhail Bulgakov: The Master and Margarita
  • [13] Colm Toibin: The Blackwater Lightship
  • [14] Alan Hollinghurst: The Folding Star
  • [15] Ross King: Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling
  • [16] Fyodor Dostoevsky: The Brothers Karamazov
  • [17] Jonathan Franzen: The Corrections
  • [18] Colm Toibin: The Story of the Night
  • [19] John Banville: Shroud
  • [20] Leo Tolstoy: Resurrection
  • [21] Peter Hessler: River Town, Two Years on the Yangtze
  • [22] Ian McEwan: The Atonement
  • [24] Gabriel Garcia Marquez: Love in the Time of Cholera
  • [25] Ignacio Padilla: Shadow without a Name
  • [26] Umberto Eco: The Name of the Rose
  • [27] Richard Russo: Straight Man
  • [28] Fyodor Dostoevsky: Notes from Underground
  • [29] Alan Hollinghurst: The Spell
  • [30] Hermann Broch: The Death of Virgil
  • [31] James Baldwin: Giovanni's Room
  • [32] Ken Kesey: One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest
  • [33] Xingjian Gao: One Man's Bible
  • [34] C. Jay Cox: Latter Days
  • [35] Harper Lee: To Kill A Mockingbird
  • [36] William Shakespeare: The Taming of the Shrew
  • [37] Daniel A. Helminiak: What The Bible Really Says about Homosexuality
  • [38] James Baldwin: Tell Me How Long the Train's Been Gone
  • [39] Kenji Yoshino: Covering - The Hidden Assault of Civil Rights
  • [40] Italo Calvino: If, On a Winter's Night A Traveler
  • [41] Arthur Phillips: The Egyptologist
  • [42] George Orwell: 1984
  • [43] Michael Warner: The Trouble with Normal: Sex, Politics, and Ethics of Queer Life
  • [44] Andrew Sullivan: Virtually Normal
  • [45] Henry James: The Wings of the Dove
  • [46] Jose Saramago: Blindness
  • [47] Umberto Eco: The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana
  • [48] Dan Brown: Da Vinci Code
  • [49] Kazuo Ishiguro: Never Let Me Go
  • [50] Ken Follett: The Pillars of Earth
  • [51] Leo Tolstoy: War and Peace
  • [52] Michael Thomas Ford: Alec Baldwin Doesn't Like Me
  • [53] Jonathan Franzen: How To Be Alone
  • [54] Jonathan Lethem: The Fortress of Solitude
  • [55] Matthew Pearl: The Dante Club
  • [56] Zadie Smith: White Teeth
  • [57] Fyodor Dostoevsky: The Double
  • [58] Jose Saramago: The Double
  • [59] Andrew Holleran: Dancer from the Dance
  • [60] Heinrich von Kleist: The Marquise of O & Other Stories
  • [61] Andrew Holleran: In September, the Light Changes
  • [62] Tom Perrotta: Little Children
  • September 05, 2006


    [57] Dostoevsky vs. Saramago

    Each of my two favorite authors wrote a novel with the same title--The Double. I reviewed Dostoevsky's back in 2000 and recently re-read the novel:

    Golyadkin is a government clerk who, decreed by fate, encounters a man who not only resembles him exactly but is also his namesake. Golyadkin's own musings and foreshadowing along with his curious actions all afford hints and glimpses of a psychological realism that persists throughout the novel. On a stormy night in which Golyadkin tried to regain his composure after the hails of slights had descended him at a private party of the high society, he met his double. The double (who was subsequently being referred as the Golyadkin junior and the adversary), with bold effrontery, went out his own way to show Golyadkin impudence, insulted Golyadkin, and purloined Golyadkin's papers in order to win approbation of the double's superiors at work.

    Like Notes From Underground, The Double is a close examination of human consciousness, through an unreliable narrator. I repeatedly raise the question whether this imposture really happens? Does the Golyadkin junior (the double) really exist in cold fact? What really happens at the end? Perhaps the real horror of Golyadkin senior (whom Dostoyevsky eventually refers him as our hero) is that he unconsciously knows his double simply being the side of his own nature that he disapproves, despises and fears? Regardless of the existence of the double, the imposter has simply trampled Golyadkin in the mire, perfidiously intruded him, and showed clearly that the senior and also the genuine Golyadkin is not genuine at all but a counterfeit, and that Golyadkin junior himself is the real one. The book is a portrait of the darker side of despicable personality that magnifies to the full actuality.

    Saramago's is more realistic. Tertuliano Máximo Afonso is a history teacher: Middle-aged, divorced and in a relationship with a woman, he is bored with life. On the suggestion of a colleague, one night Máximo watches a video that changes everything. The video itself is a forgettable comedy, but the actor who plays the minor role of hotel clerk, is Afonso's physical double. So he is fervishly renting videos and finding out about his double.

    I have yet to finish the book--but like Saramago's other works, The Double is a semi-allegory that breathes philosophical insights about our existence. Review coming soon.


    Blogger matty said...

    I wonder if Ing sells these books. Hmmmm...

    9/05/2006 11:06 AM  
    Blogger Greg said...

    I've heard of Saramago's book. It reminds me of the film "The Double Life of Veronique," with a woman running into her double while on a trip.

    9/05/2006 11:23 AM  
    Blogger Jef said...

    Reminds me of tales of people meeting their dopplegangers. It also reminds me of that song, "Captain of her Heart" by Double. Love that song... very haunting.

    9/05/2006 9:05 PM  
    Blogger Matt said...

    Greg and Jef,
    A couple years ago in Bangkok I ran into a guy who hauntingly had very similar facial features as I--only that he was a monk!

    9/06/2006 1:48 PM  
    Blogger T. Wanker said...

    I haven't read Saramago or Dostoevsy's Double books yet. Mostly I've just been reveling in the fact that there are still people in the world that read and love the great Russian Novelists.

    Philip Roth has utilized the double repeatedly in his fiction -- Operation Shylock being a notable example.

    I'll pull Saramago off the shelf and give him a read. I loved Blindness.

    12/31/2006 7:58 PM  
    Anonymous kamagra said...

    It is very curious that Dostoevsky and Saramago wrote a book with the same title. I just know Saramago's version which I consider fabulous.

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    Anonymous buy kamagra said...

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    Anonymous Metro Ethernet said...

    wow well, those books looks very interesting, maybe we do, maybe we have a double in the world. what do you think?

    5/14/2011 3:43 PM  
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